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Indonesian priest to be charged with harboring activists

Radio Australia - July 3, 1997

Indonesian police are to charge a Roman Catholic priest over harbouring three pro-democracy activists following serious riots in Jakarta last year.

The newspaper, the Jakarta Post, said the charges would be brought against Father Ignatius Sandyawan Sumardi for harbouring leaders of the People's Democratic Party who were accused of instigating the riots in July last year.

Father Sandyawan was quoted by the paper as saying it was his "moral decision" to shelter the men.

The three members of the banned party, an umbrella group which advocates radical reforms, were captured in August last year and after being convicted of subversion are serving sentences ranging between 18 months and 13 years in jail.

Five people were killed in the riots and Father Sandyawan was awarded Indonesia's highest award for human rights for sheltering victims of the violence.